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Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Wales back-row Toby Faletau out of Six Nations start

Toby Faletau was first first called into the Wales squad in November
Toby Faletau was first first called into the Wales squad in November

Wales new boy Toby Faletau is expected to miss the first six weeks of the Six Nations through injury.

The 20-year-old number eight suffered the injury in Newport Gwent Dragons' 23-16 Heineken Cup pool defeat to Glasgow Warriors on Sunday.

Faletau was one of five uncapped players in Wales coach Warren Gatland's 28-man squad, and was back-up for Ryan Jones, Andy Powell and Jonathan Thomas.

Scarlets back-row Rob McCusker will take Faletau's place in the squad.

McCusker has three caps, appearing as a substitute against South Africa at the Millennium Stadium last summer before coming off the bench for both Tests of the following tour of New Zealand.

Wales physiotherapist Mark Davies said: "Toby has ligament damage to his ankle and will be in a boot for a period of two to three weeks.

"He will then begin rehab meaning he is ruled out for around six weeks."

Wales begin their Six Nations campaign on Friday, 4 February in Cardiff against England, before travelling to face Scotland the following weekend.

Italy await Wales in Rome on 26 February before Wales return to the Millennium Stadium a fortnight later against Ireland - when Faletau could theoretically be back in contention.

But it will be asking a lot for an uncapped youngster to prove his fitness for the clash with Brian O'Driscoll's men and earn a place in Wales' match day 22.

Dragons rugby manager Robert Beale said: "We are obviously very disappointed for Toby.

"He has proven that he is a quality player and to have the opportunity for his international debut lost to injury is a real blow for him."

The Dragons also issued a statement contradicting a report in a Cardiff newspaper that the Welsh Rugby Union had not been informed of Faletau's injury.

Gatland considers World Cup selection

"Apart from the fact that Warren Gatland attended the game in person on Sunday and had the opportunity to liaise directly with our staff following the game, the region's medical team complied with all protocols regarding the notification of player injuries," read the statement.

"And specifically an email was sent to the WRU medical team on Sunday evening informing them of the extent of Toby's injury.

"Clearly there is a communications issue regarding medical information not being given to the correct people, but we are confident that this is an internal issue at the Union and not related to the actions of the Dragons."

Wales squad:

Forwards: Paul James (Ospreys), John Yapp (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Ospreys), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, capt), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Andy Powell (Wasps), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Rob McCusker (Scarlets), Dan Lydiate (Dragons).

Backs: Mike Phillips (Ospreys), Dwayne Peel (Sale), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), James Hook (Ospreys), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys), Morgan Stoddart (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), Lee Byrne (Ospreys).


Phillips relishes fresh start

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see also
Gatland questions Hartley value
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Williams 'still has Wales future'
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England call up Dowson and Wood
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'Quality' Jones attitude hailed
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Williams omitted from Wales squad
23 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Dragons 16-23 Glasgow Warriors
23 Jan 11 |  NG Dragons
Wales' rugby fixtures
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